Our 50th article part 3: Gaining hands-on experience and landing your dream job

Emilio Lorenzo is the assistant director of career advisement in NSU’s Office of Career Development. He understands the importance of helping students reach their career goals and works with all students, including undergraduate, graduate and professional- level students, to achieve their professional goals.

Emily Tasca is a member of the career advisement team in NSU’s Office of Career Development. She works with current students and alumni at the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels.

In order to celebrate our 50th Article, anniversary we have provided created a three-part series that highlights quotes from the best Career Corner articles. Each will provide insights on gaining hands-on experience and landing your dream job”.

Getting comfortable with the uncomfortable:

“In life, you will come to understand very quickly that you have to get comfortable with the uncomfortable, which applies to your career as much as your personal life. Some of these uncomfortable career situations can include engaging professionals and faculty in conversation, answering difficult interview questions, networking with professionals and negotiating salary.”

“Building relationships with faculty, professionals in your desired field, or key stakeholders that who will help you reach your goals, not only stretches your comfort zone, but also plants the seed to create avenues, which may lead to job opportunities upon graduation.”

Personalizing your resume:

“Personalizing your resume to a specific job or industry is essential as you try to showcase your fit to an employer.”

“Though it’s true that being a sales associate at Banana Republic isn’t similar to being a nurse, many skills acquired from customer service experience are helpful and applicable to any field. So, ask yourself what skills you’ll need to be successful in a new field and try to connect those past experiences, no matter the setting.”

“You won’t be in the room with the employer as he or she reads your resume, so it is imperative that you connect the dots on why your past experiences are related to the current opportunity. Every job requires training, but the transferable skills you’ve developed from other experiences will showcase that you’re the right fit for the employer.”

Building the bridge from University Island to Dream Job City:

“Typically, a bridge is made of bricks and cement; however, the bridge to your career goals is built on relationships and pre-professional experiences that will prepare you to navigate the challenges of your dream job and transition into a well-rounded professional.”

“There are many ways you can build professional relationships and gain pre-professional experiences. The value in each of these experiences encapsulates, or provides a glimpse, as to what the future would hold within a certain career path, as well as provides an avenue to develop key skills that would be needed in such environments.”

“Gaining transferable skills, whether through volunteering, internships, or independent projects, is not the only reason pre-professional experiences are useful, as they can also be an ideal way to build relationships with key stakeholders in your future.”

The importance of internships:

“Internships can be defined many different ways, but essentially, it is an opportunity to help you explore a certain career path and understand skills needed as a professional in such a field. It also provides professional growth as you become more marketable for future opportunities through hands-on experiences.”

“Now, here is the conundrum: How do you get a position after graduation when you have no experience and are a new graduate looking to transition into the field? This is why internships are so important in college because it provides an avenue to gain such experiences and exposure to your area of study without needing prior years of experience or a completed degree.”

“In addition, internships can also be a great way to explore a certain major or career path, as what better way to understand your fit within the field than to see it up close and personal.”

This is my first professional interview. How do I handle difficult questions?:

“The key is to prepare appropriately for your interview and to keep in mind a few tips and tricks that will make you a better candidate, including the strategic use of storytelling.”

“The first step you should take is to research the position, employer and organization as much as possible….” “The more you know about a company, the more prepared you will be to handle questions like ‘why do you want to work for us?’ and ‘what have you heard about our organization?’”

“A good strategy to use as you are preparing for the interview is to go through a list of questions that may come up and reflect on past stories to include when responding. This strategy is called story banking; it can be used almost like a utility belt as you decide which anecdote suits the situational questions.”

“You want to be honest and sincere with your answers. When you’re asked to identify your weaknesses, make sure it’s a real one you’re able to thoroughly explain. The key is to include strategic details on about how you plan to realistically improve or even turn this weakness into a strength.”

Career guide to summer planning:

“During the fall and spring semester, it may have been difficult to find sufficient time to engage in certain initiatives that will help you long-term, including but not limited to obtaining an internship or networking with professionals in your field. However, during the summer, you have plenty of time and freedom from a heavy academic workload, making it an opportune moment to take advantage.”

“It all starts with developing a strategic plan early on. If you would like to use your summer to obtain an internship, then you do not want to wait until the first day of summer to see what options are available. Internship planning should be done least a month or two before the actual internship begins.”

“In addition, you can use the summer to get involved in your community or do something exciting like studying abroad. Getting involved in your community allows you to develop key, transferable skills like relationship building and communication.”

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